Saturday night at the Meadowlands Championship Meet featured the Arthur J Cutler Memorial, which may well have been the most exciting edition in the stake's sixteen year history with four top trotters hitting the wire together.
The classy Sevruga left hard, made the front early and took on all comers zipping through a 26.4 third quarter when pressed. The closers had his scent as the wire approached but couldn't reach in time. At the wire it was Sevruga hanging on by an scant inch over a pair of dead heaters for the place, Guccio and Wishing Stone, with Modern Family another inch back fourth in a stakes record equaling 1:51-. The Cutler final is a leg of the TVG/Meadowlands Free For Series, awarding 35 points to the winner.
"He's a horse that can go a long way, so I wanted to give him a chance," was the way driver Andy Miller described the trip. "I took off when Undercover Strike came to him (that 26.4 third panel resulted) and I didn't know if he hung on or not."
Sevruga did hang on, to win for the sixth time in ten seasonal outings and set a personal speed record in the process. Julie Miller trains the winner for owner KDM Stables Corp of New York.
While Jeff Gural voiced his affection for his departed friend Artie Cutler in the post race Hollywood Heyden interview, he also touched on the impressive returning crop of four year old horses. The bounty of quality race horses this season is due in no small part to the condition on Meadowlands and WEG stakes put in place to discourage their early retirement.
A few races later, the relevance of that decision was on display in the brand new $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity for four year old pacers. The field of ten included nearly every top three year old of last season with combined earnings of nearly $9 million.
Fast away from post ten was Warrawee Needy, who took the field to the half in 54.4 just before releasing Hurrikane King Cole. YanninkGingras had Sweet Lou in perfect second over position for the drive as Warrawee Needy slipped out of the pocket and they hit the wire together in 1:49-.
After a lengthy photo, Sweet Lou's number was posted for his first win of the campaign. Ron Burke trains the winner for Burke, Inc, Mark Weaver & Mike Bruscemi, Louis Karr and P. Collura.
Three divisions of the New Jersey Sires Stakes for sophomore pacers were on the Saturday card as well.
Rockin Amadeus opened the series with 1:49.4 win in the first of two $25,000 divisions. YannickGingras drove the 2012 Breeders Crown winner for trainer Takter and owner Susan Grange's Lothlorien stable.
Emeritus Maximus took the other colt spilt in 1:50.1 over Wake Up Peter. Tim Tetrick drove for Tony Alagna (who conditions the top pair) and owners Cheap Speed Stable, JL Benson Stable and Alan Alber.
On the fair side, I Luv The Nitelife held on for a gritty decision over O NarutacRockette in 1:51- in the single division eleven filly $45,000 leg. Tetrick has the assignment on this top filly for trainer Chris Ryder and owner Richard Young.
Once again, the total handle eclipsed the $3 million mark. In fact, the $3,096,914 was an increase of $921,671 from the same Saturday in 2012, with the same number of races. That correlates to an increase of 42-percent. On-track handle was up both nights, with a final tally of a 10-percent increase for the weekend.
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